An independent panel convened by the National Institutes of Health today issued recommendations to improve how laws and policies, community-level programs and environmental changes to reduce obesity are evaluated. The report, the result of a workshop on the issue, recommends actions to enhance data systems and integration, standardize measurement of obesity-related outcomes, and improve methods for study design and analysis. The panel also recommends increased training and community engagement in obesity research, as well as funding for long-term follow-up on promising approaches. “The obesity epidemic in the United States has not been reversed,” said Karen Emmons, chair of the panel and professor of social and behavioral science at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. “It is essential that researchers examine the status of the methods used to assess natural experiments to reduce obesity and focus on areas in which these methods could be improved to advance the field.” 

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